The Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that a woman has the right to know details of her husband’s salary.
A High Court Bench of Justices S.K. Seth and Nandita Dubey made the observation while hearing the petition of Sunita Jain who had sought a higher maintenance amount from her estranged husband.
According to facts of the case, Sunita Jain estranged wife to Pawan Jain, a BSNL employee, was receiving a maintenance allowance of Rs 7,000. The woman wished to know the exact salary of her husband as she felt that his salary was more than Rs two lakh per month and she deserved more as maintenance allowance. She filed an application in the district court seeking pay slip of her husband, but her application was rejected. Then, she sought to get it through RTI from BSNL but was denied details of her husband’s pay.
The desperate woman has to appeal to CIC. The husband belonged to Home department which stated that information was about ’third party’. The Central Information Commission (CIC) in various cases has directed the Public Authority to disclose the salary particulars of its employees to the information seeker irrespective of whether the information seeker is related to the employee or not. Earlier too, the CIC has directed public authorities to disclose salary particulars of a husband to the wife. In spite of specific decisions and directions by the CIC, the PIOs and Appellate Authorities are repeatedly denying the salary particulars to the wife contending that this information belonged to the third party.
Food for thought: If sharing salary information is so difficult, one can imagine difficulties in sharing salary of her husband. Sharing love does not fall under RTI or personal laws. But ignoring responsibility would bring spouses to courts and tribunals. Then it is no more an issue of love but that of law and duty.